How Scarlett Johansson Kept It Together While Suing Disney for Fair Pay

How Scarlett Johansson Kept It Together While Suing Disney for Fair Pay

Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson opened up about her emotional state during her 2021 lawsuit with Disney.

“I was sad and disappointed. But mostly sad,” Johansson told Variety about Disney’s initial statement regarding the lawsuit. “It was such a surreal moment because we were all isolated and just sort of emerging a little bit. I was also really heavily pregnant, too, which in a weird way was amazing timing. Suddenly, your entire attention is drawn to this miracle of life. So, I had the most wonderful distraction in the world and soon after had a beautiful baby.”


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Johansson and Disney reached a settlement in October 2021 after months of back and forth between the two parties. In July of that year, the Marvel Studios star filed a lawsuit against Disney over the release of Black Widow, her ninth and final film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Widow premiered simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access. While details of the settlement were not disclosed, Johansson’s takeaway was reportedly over $40 million.

“I couldn’t even walk through a restaurant without somebody saying, ‘Good for you. Stand up for yourself,'” Johansson told Variety. “I could see that it had a bigger impact. I got support from strangers that have no skin in the game at all.”

What Prompted Scarlet Johansson’s Disney Lawsuit?

The lawsuit, which was filed against Disney in Los Angeles Superior Court, stated that the film’s release strategy was a direct breach of Johansson’s contract. The suit alleged that Disney and Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for Black Widow and that part of Johansson’s payment would be based on the film’s box office performance. However, this performance was diminished due to its release on Disney+ Premier Access. The lawsuit claimed that Johansson lost more than $50 million in revenue.

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Disney’s initial response called the lawsuit “sad and distressing,” as well as a “callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The company stated that the Disney+ release of Black Widow “significantly enhanced [Johansson’s] ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.” Disney’s first action since the filing was to demand the lawsuit be moved into arbitration, which prompted a response from Johansson’s legal team.

“I lost my mind and said, ‘How dare you make it seem like she’s not worth this money or that she somehow hasn’t earned it?'” Johansson’s agent, Bryan Lourd, told Variety about Disney’s statement. “She and I were very much in lockstep about what this was. And she had the conviction to let me fight back. A lot of people wouldn’t do that. And part of the reason she did it is because she thought, in the position she’s in, she had a responsibility not just to herself but to other people who were being confronted with this change.”

With the lawsuit since settled, Johansson confirmed in April 2023 that she was officially done with the MCU and would likely never reprise the role of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. “I’m done. Chapter is over. I did all that I had to do,” she said.

Black Widow is currently streaming on Disney+.

Source: Variety


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